Friday, May 22, 2015

A trilateral meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande was held on the sidelines of the EU's 4th Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, late on Thursday (May 22). The meeting, which lasted about two hours, took place in a friendly and constructive atmosphere; the three leaders discussed the significant progress made so far in negotiations between the Greek government and the institutions and focused on the remaining open issues.

According to a Greek government official, the Greek PM spoke of the country's prospects to exit the crisis if a long term deal is reached. On their part, the German Chancellor and the French president said they would personally help if needed, so that an agreement is soon reached. “[Ms.] Merkel and Mr. Hollande said they would personally contribute toward the direction of a viable, long-term solution for Greece and accelerate the procedure,” the official said.

The only thorny issue remaining is the insistence that any deal must be agreed with all three institutions, including the International Monetary Fund,” the official added and estimated that we are close to an agreement.

The government's spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said on Friday morning that Greece expects to reach a deal with its creditors in the next 10 days and aims to meet all its payments in June. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker today.

The Annual Conference of the European Sea Ports Organisation is held this year in Piraeus. It focuses on the relation of ports and energy and looks at the role of ports in a changing European energy policy framework. The ESPO 2015 kicked-off yesterday (May 21) by drawing the most realistic energy scenarios and how these will affect transport, ports and port industries. The conference will further examine the way ports can respond and possibly benefit from the shift to alternative energies in maritime transport and how Europe’s decarbonisation agenda could bring new business to ports and how can ports improve energy efficiency in their daily functioning.

Piraeus is Greece’s largest port and one of Europe’s most important passenger ports.
It connects continental Greece with the islands, and is both an international cruise centre and a commercial hub for the Mediterranean, providing services for ships of all type and size.

Follow #Piraeus2015 on facebook, twitter instagram.

A mobile application that allows users to type messages using only the movements of their eyes has been developed by researcher and PhD candidate Evangelos Skodras from the University of Patras (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department), who, in his paper on Accurate Eye Center Localization Method for Low Resolution Color Imagery explained how the user could fix his/her gaze for a few milliseconds on each of the buttons and make a selection. The application (available on Android) can be used by people suffering from severe paralysis (i.e. quadriplegia) who move nothing but their eyes, aspiring to be a step towards ubiquitous gaze tracking using handheld devices.

The app won the Computer Society Award at the 2015 Mobile Application Development Contest, organised by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) –the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology- as well as the Award for Most innovative app at another contest held by the Electrical Engineering Students European Association. In this last contest, Eye type competed with 50 other Android apps by 717 researchers.

Organic dark chocolate with rosemary and chili is not something one eats every day. However, thirty seven year-old Athens-based chocolatier, Alexandros Dimitriou, came up with twenty different sophisticated ideas for mouth-watering chocolate flavours.

With an education in chocolate confectionery and haute cuisine in Italy and France, he decided to start his own business, Alexandros Hand made Chocolates, in Greece sixteen years ago; and while the chocolates were only available in Greece at first, the company grew enough to introduce Greek secrets such as the Aegina island pistachios and Chios island mastic to the rest of Europe, Middle East and Asia. “Chocolate sweets can be healthy when combined with nutritious ingredients and top quality cacao,” the owner suggests.

Greek News Agenda: Sweet tradition & Dragées Hatziyiannakis: an Award-Winning Delicacy

Björn Ulvaeus, the Swedish songwriter, former ABBA member and co-composer of the musical Mamma Mia, in cooperation with a Greek businessman, is about to revive the scenery of the movie filmed in 2008 in the Greek Sporades islands, inside a Greek-style tavern in Stockholm. The idea is to create a restaurant were actors and dancers will perform live on stage the musical’s hits. If the idea proves successful, Ulvaeus says he may proceed with his own chain of theme restaurants. 

Mamma Mia, the musical, has been touring the world for the last fifteen years in 74 cities. When it was adapted to film (2008), the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos were chosen as setting for their unique scenery, with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried singing and dancing against a backdrop of crystal waters and lavish vineyards. The owners cannot vouch for the climate in Stockholm but they will certainly try for a warm ambiance inside.